Disney veteran Kevin Mayer appointed TikTok CEO

ByteDance took another step on globalisation process by hiring Mayer to run operations.

Mayer: responsible for driving global development of ByteDance
Mayer: responsible for driving global development of ByteDance

ByteDance announced the appointment of Kevin Mayer, ex-chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Disney, as chief operating officer, as well as chief executive of TikTok.

Mayer will be responsible for driving the global development of ByteDance, as well as overseeing corporate development, sales, marketing, public affairs, security, moderation and legal.

In his role as chief operating officer at ByteDance, Mayer will lead music, gaming and India social media service Helo. ByteDance said Mayer will report to chief executive Yiming Zhang. 

With Mayer's appointment, the company is bringing in experience with building a global business. "As one of the world's most accomplished entertainment executives, Kevin is incredibly well-placed to take ByteDance's portfolio of products to the next level," Zhang commented.

Alex Zhu, currently president of TikTok, will transition to ByteDance as vice-president of product and strategy.

Kelly Zhang and Lidong Zhang will continue to lead the China business as chief executive and chairman of ByteDance China respectively. They manage ByteDance's short-video apps in that market, as well as the business and operational team.

TikTok's national and regional leaders will remain in their roles with their current responsibilities, reporting to Mayer.

The company is reported to have received a round of fundraising in March from Tiger Global Management, as investors are betting on the company's advertising business. According to Tiger's research team, ByteDance is expected to grab 19% of the China digital ad market this year. EMarketer, meanwhile, expects China's digital media adspend to total $81bn (£65bn) in 2020.

ByteDance is not shy about its ambition to expand. In April, it hired Nick Tran, ex-vice-president of brand and culture marketing at Hulu, to manage marketing for its North America business. The company also brought Ole Obermann, a 10-year veteran of Sony, on board in October 2019 and hired Vanessa Pappas, who managed user growth at YouTube for seven years.

A version of this article was first published by Campaign Asia-Pacific


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